AVON, Ind.-- Rescuing animals is a life’s calling for some people. A group of volunteers in central Indiana have made it their mission to place more abandoned pets in loving homes through a foster network. Essential to that mission is reducing area shelter euthanasia rates.
Misty Eyes Animal Center operates in Hendricks County. They pull from crowded shelters and place animals in loving foster homes. Sometimes those become permanent placements, and other times the animals pass through a chain of devoted volunteer families.
Their mission is a prime example of volunteerism. Misty Eyes started as an idea shared among friends in a public library five years ago. It has since grown into a base of 100 volunteers and name recognition within the community.
“We have built up to a place where our county can have a very proud record right now,” said Misty Eyes co-founder Cherie Fox, “we have a very low euthanasia rate at the county shelter.”
Misty Eyes has saved and rescued more than a thousand animals to date.
For four years the group operated out of a small, rented office space in Brownsburg. No animals lived there and the space was used for administrative services and occasional adoption events. They chose to cut that lease to pursue construction on a new property at 616 S. County Road 800 in Avon.
“Eventually we’re going to be able to help many more animals,” Fox added.
It’s their dream to foster more animals but they’ve faced obstacles of limited space and not enough foster volunteers. They hope the 1,300 square-foot center currently under construction will allow for that expansion.
“This is a life mission for me. This is something that I wanted, I hoped for, I dreamed about and I didn’t necessarily know it would come to pass and it has,” Fox added.
The new center is nearing completion. Inside, there’s space for administrative work, behavioral training for dogs not yet ready for foster placement, and an area to host adoption events.
In the rear of the 3-acre property, there is space for additional construction. Misty Eyes wants to build a shelter to house 50 dogs and 50 cats. But instead of the typical kennel style houses, they want to build suites for their sheltered animals.
“It’s going anywhere to talk about Misty Eyes,” said fellow founder, Renee Harlor. The support of volunteers has fueled five years of growth and expansion. When the group started, they sent volunteers to schools, libraries and any community event taking place.
“It’s overwhelming,” Harlor added, “we’ve worked and formed relationships with our county shelter and other people to really make this happen. You look at the eyes of an animal and when you know you’ve helped them, it’s huge.”